Forsaken

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Forsaken Movie Poster Image
Violent but well-acted western for Kiefer Sutherland fans.
  • R
  • 2016
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie makes points about dealing with bullies and choosing violence or nonviolence in certain situations. It may not have all the best answers, but it could inspire interesting discussions.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main character tries to be a good person, to forget his violent past and to do something constructive with his time, but he doesn't quite succeed.

Violence

Lots of shooting and killing, with blood spurts as bullets strike. Bullies beat up innocents; strong bloody wounds; cuts and bruises; severed finger. A flashback shows a woman screaming and a dead child.

Sex

Flirting. Married couple kisses.

Language

A few uses of "f--k," "s--t," "damn," and "goddamn."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking by adults (whiskey), background smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Forsaken is a violent Western: Many characters are shot and/or killed, with blood spurting as the bullets hit. Characters are also beaten up, with bloody faces and cuts and bruises. There's a severed finger and a disturbing flashback of a screaming mother and a dead child. Language is infrequent but also strong, with a few uses of "f--k," plus "s--t" and "damn." Sex isn't an issue, but there's some mild flirting and a wife gently kisses her husband. Social drinking and background smoking are seen. Even though this is a decent, modern example of the Western genre, and the movie promises interesting discussions about bullies, there's not much here to interest teens (aside from fans of star Kiefer Sutherland).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBeverly B. December 11, 2016

Great western

No family movie should ever use God's name in vain. Not even once!
Teen, 13 years old Written byNickbrick03 March 31, 2016

watch it if your bored

a boring movie to be honest. its just no plot the entire film and the characters are dull. You hardely even know them. there are five f words and 15 s words an... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old April 30, 2016

What's the story?

Ex-gunslinger John Henry Clayton (Kiefer Sutherland) returns home after fighting in the Civil War, only to discover that his mother has passed away, and his sweetheart (Demi Moore) has married another man. Clayton's stern father, the town preacher (Donald Sutherland), frowns on his son's life choices, so Clayton goes about honoring his late mother's wish and starts clearing a field for planting. Unfortunately, a ruthless businessman (Brian Cox) is trying to buy up all the nearby land and has resorted to intimidation to do it, hiring the deadly Gentleman Dave Turner (Michael Wincott) and a band of nasty killers to push people around. At first Clayton turns the other cheek, but there's only so far a man can be pushed before he fights back.

Is it any good?

Though it borrows liberally from the classic Shane and doesn't really offer anything new, this lowkey Western still works, thanks to patient storytelling and a batch of strong performances. Emmy winner Jon Cassar, who directed Kiefer Sutherland in the hit TV series 24, is at the helm and allows for many potent, touching scenes of character interaction that subtly strengthen the drama. Wincott is especially good as a three-dimensional bad guy with both a history and a moral compass.

Speaking of history, it helps that there's a lot here. FORSAKEN marks the first time that Kiefer and Donald Sutherland have played father and son in a movie, and Kiefer and Moore reunite for the first time since 1992's A Few Good Men. Not to mention that seeing the younger Sutherland back in the saddle recalls his Young Guns films. He's older now, and his face has plenty of character; with little dialogue, he effortlessly carries his scenes. Even as the plot slowly heads toward the inevitable, it's not hard to care.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Forsaken's violence. Is it intended to be thrilling or shocking? What's the difference? How did the filmmakers achieve this? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • How are bullies dealt with in the movie? Are these methods admirable, questionable, or both?

  • What's the appeal (or non-appeal) of the Western genre?

  • What's the relationship between father and son like in the movie? What ideas or beliefs have come between them? Are these things resolved? If so, how?

  • Why has the main character chosen nonviolence? Why can't he stick to that path?

Movie details

For kids who love Westerns

Our editors recommend

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